I first visited Jordan about two years ago during a business trip. Back then, I managed to fall in love with this country in just three days. As business trips usually don’t give you a lot of freedom to spend time exploring a city, I promised to come back and give Jordan the attention it deserved.
We landed pretty late in Amman, so we headed straight for the hotel and went straight to bed, to make sure we had plenty of rest for the next day. We had a nice plan for the next couple of days and we wanted to make sure that we saw and experienced as much as possible.
Mother nature, however, had something else planned for us. The next morning, looking out of our hotel window, all we could was see was a thick layer of snow and was awed by the deafening silence.
Determined not to let the snow damper our spirits, our first day in Amman was spent walking around a very popular street in Amman called Rainbow street. This street is very popular because of all of the great restaurants and cafes in the area. Its a great place to start of your visit to Jordan and familiarize yourself with the local cuisine. Even though it was very cold, we managed to walk around and see some of the sights.
Luckily, my favorite coffee shop in Amman, The Turtle Green Tea Bar was open and serving hot coffee.
The beauty of Amman is that theres always a constant mixture of old and new trying to live together. Walk down Rainbow street and you’ll notice the cobblestone streets right next to a fancy new coffeeshop, and it looks amazing.
Although the snow did slow our progression a bit, it did have one major benefit. The pollution that usually blankets the skyline was now gone, and in its place there were some beautiful clouds with a dark blue sky as its background.
King Abdullah Mosque
Right in the middle of Amman is the King Abdullah Mosque which is pretty hard to miss with its blue dome. The mosque is open to visitors and also includes a tour.
Be ready to have your jaw drop as you walk in. The mosque is massive and if you manage to get the tour when no one else is around, the vast space combined with the silence is something to experience.
The Citadel is located at the center of downtown Amman and has a history of occupation dating back thousands of years. You can catch a cab to the top of the Citadel or ask a tour guide to show you around for about $30-$40. Towards one end of the Citadel is the Jordan Archaeological Museum which contains artifacts from prehistoric times to the 15th century.
Being located on top of a hill, means you get some beautiful views of the city below. Combine that with a beautiful blue skies and the view gets even better.
The Roman Theater
Built around 150 C.E, this theater could seat about 6,000 people. It costs about $2 to get in and from the top of the seats you get an amazing view of all around the theater.
Petra is about a three hour car drive from Amman and is probably the most recommended tourist stop by tour guides and tour books. We spent about three hours inside Petra, but probably would have spent more if it wasn’t for the weather.
Ajloun is a 90 minute drive towards the north of Amman and is famous for Ajloun castle which was constructed around 1180 A.D. Not much besides the castle to here, but the drive to the castle is very picturesque.
Again, more amazing views from the top.
On the way back from Ajloun Castle to Amman, Jerash is a 40 minute drive and definitely worth the stopover. The whole place takes about two-three hours to walk around and discover but again, definitely worth it.
This is probably my favorite shot from this trip. This was shot on the side of the highway, on the way back from Jerash to Amman. The water you see in the photo is a dam that’s starting to fill up because of the melting snow. The clouds were very dramatic that day and this picture would sum up what you can expect to see in Jordan in one photo.
There are three things from Jordan that I’ll take back and keep with me. The memory of eating fresh, hot Kunafeh from Habiba. Hot, strong Kahwah (coffee) and the rich history and culture that surrounds this country.
If Jordan is not on your list of places to visit, it should be.